I have contradictory feelings about this book. On one hand it’s a great mystery with plenty of twists and unexpected reveals. The cast of characters is large, diverse, and well- developed. Inspector Barnaby is interesting, fleshed-out, and extremely competent. He immediately became one of my favorite fictional detectives. My favorite moment in the book is actually in the last chapter when he’s sitting with Miss Bellringer, telling her about Emily Simpson’s death.
On the other hand we have Sergeant Troy – he’s a/n (fill in expletive of choice here). The guy is sexist, ageist, xenophobic and homophobic. I could not honestly recall one positive thing about his character. Unfortunately, we are forced to spend brief periods of time in his head – all of them without exception were extremely uncomfortable.
So why did I give this book such a high rating? Caroline Graham does an amazing job in my eyes of showing that he is not a nice guy. She doesn’t try to excuse it or make an argument that he’s not that awful – he really is. He gets called out at least three times in the book and each time that happened I gave a little cheer. So for writing a wonderful mystery and a truly awful character who gets called out for the things he says I gave this book 4 stars.